Tradesmen pitch in to help retired Ramsgate couple left without water and toilet for a week by ‘uncontactable’ builder

Laureen and Alan Entwistle

Big-hearted workmen in Thanet have pitched in to help after a retired Ramsgate couple were left with no water or toilet and faulty electrics for almost a week.

Army veteran Alan Entwistle, 71, and wife Laureen, a former care worker, had to collect water from their daughter and use a bucket as a toilet after the builder fitting their bathroom left them without facilities and failed to return to the property.

The couple had been saving for three years to have a wetroom installed at their home but are now some £2,600 out of pocket. They were left with a leaking shower which has gone in the kitchen and caused the floor to lift, a hole in the wall between the kitchen and bathroom, an unfitted toilet, a partially fitted door, a hole in bathroom wall to the outside of the house, an incorrectly fitted basin, poorly fitted boarding on the walls and an incomplete floor.

Alan, who suffers COPD and uses oxygen, and Laureen who has angina, were devastated by the mess and have tried on numerous occasions to contact the builder but have been unable to get an answer.

Laureen, 70, said: “We had no water or toilet for a week. My husband has been so upset by it. I handed money to him (the builder), you trust people. We are not plumbers so we didn’t know what he was doing.”

The last time the builder was at the couple’s property was on Friday, August 28.

Laureen said: “He said we had no water but he would be back Sunday. He had done the lights and we ended up with no electric as it blew so there was no bathroom light, no toilet and no water. He told us not to go in the bathroom for 24 hours because he had levelled the floor or something. So, we were using a bucket and my husband was going to my daughter’s to get water.

“When I got up Sunday morning I could hear a noise in the bathroom so I called my husband and he could hear it too.

“We looked and the floor was wet, there was a leak. I phoned the builder and there was no answer. My daughter phoned and his friend told her he had forgotten it was bank holiday and was in Liverpool for the weekend and would be back to ours on Tuesday.

“He didn’t come. Alan phoned about 11 times, my daughter phoned, but there was no answer, no communication from him at all.”

The couple’s daughter Keena posted to facebook about her parents’ predicament and the amazing response has resulted in several tradesmen pitching in to get the couple’s water and electrics back on and to try and rectify the mess.

Family friend Kaine Armstrong and mum Claire managed to contact several people and Sam Cornwall of Cornwall Carpentry, Tom Bowmont of TB Heating and Plumbing and Paul Newman from TP Electrical answered the plea for help.

Tom, Sam and Paul

Tom has fitted the toilet, repaired the leaks and put the water back on. He will be ripping out the bathroom so it can be redone. Paul repaired the electrics and replaced parts.

However, some additional help is still needed. The to do list includes:

  • Removing waterproof panelling on the shower wall
  • Rebuilding the wall between the bathroom and the kitchen, (behind the kitchen sink) Removing and refitting the basin
  • Installing a trap(currently just piped) and removing the screws that are hanging out the wall
  • Redoing pipe work for the shower and basin
  • Wet room flooring needs relaying -help is still needed for this job
  • Boarding around the window needs completing and trimming – help is needed for this
  • Doors need handles and latches fitting – help needed for this
  • Architrave needs fitting around the door – help needed for this

Keena said: “I just want to say that every single one of those who have been to mum and dad’s in the last couple of days are true angels and have restored my faith in humanity.

“Mum and dad have helped so many people over the years – mum was a care worker for KCC for over 39 years, and dad was in the Army. It’s nice to see they’re getting something back in return for all their giving and support.”

A complaint about the builder has now been lodged with Trading Standards.

If anyone can help with the additional jobs please contact Kaine on 07414546862

The Isle of Thanet News has attempted to contact the builder but is yet to receive a response.


  1. What kind Gentlemen ,hats off to them , a pity that the lowlife that caused this problem may never be brought to justice.

  2. Well done the Workers who got involved, and solved the misery of these folk.
    Shame about the ‘cowboy’ who very nearly ruined the life of these poor folk.
    I would say ‘name & shame’, so we can avoid any future disasters happening from him.
    That would be up to the folk he has severely let down though.

  3. I think give the chap an opportunity to explain himself and put things right. He might have been involved in a car crash or something, and be gravely I’ll in hospital.
    If it turns out he’s just done a runner, then certainly his details should be made public, otherwise he’ll just do it again
    Caveat emptor: before you employ a tradesman, check on Check a Trade, or ask friends and neighbours if they can recommend someone.
    Don’t *ever* part with money until the job us done.

  4. Well done to Tom, Sam and Paul, great work.

    It really is a shame the cowboy has not been named, would be even better if he was known to anyone, and they could provide a photo.

  5. Like everyone says, shameful builder ought to be named and shamed so as he cannot do anything like this to anyone else

  6. It sounds like this rat has done a runner, if he had been indisposed and couldn’t get back on the job, any decent person would have contacted the couple and explained his absence! Its possible this is a con trick, but if they know his address, then take him to the Small Claims court to get their money back! A good Lawyer can do this, recovering his fee when they win! I have done this myself four times, and its not as easy as it looks, due to delays! In future I suggest anyone needing small building works carried out, try Age UK Thanet, they have vetted tradesmen that can do most minor building works, at a reasonable cost!

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